Phillipe Chow Review - Provides Exquisite Beijing Style Cuisine at NY Midtown Location

Phillipe Chow is more like a club than a restaurant. All around me the other night were regulars who dine often at this friendly place and there was a constant buzz of table hopping and exchanges. The couple at the next table proudly reported coming three times a week, sometimes more, and usually eating the same dish, chicken satay for her, and Beijing chicken with walnuts for him.


Chicken Satay * Photo Courtesy Phillipe Chow


The chicken satay is a house specialty, slabs of bright red chicken on skewers, painted crimson with Chef Phillippe Chow’s secret recipe pink cream dressing, not your usual peanut sauce. The Beijing Chicken comes as an overflowing plate of brown-robed chicken hunks, looking like a portion for more than one diner, for sure.


But then, this is a place for big portions and sharing and I saw that all around me, plates being traded and spoonfuls being exchanged. It was the kind of informality you might find at a hideaway in Chinatown, not in a mid-Manhattan restaurant where things normally are a bit more reserved.


Crispy Beef * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


Not here, however, where Chef Chow encourages sharing of his modern take on traditional dishes, although half orders are available. Located on East 60th street, the restaurant is busy night and day, with a steady noontime office crowd attracted by a generous $23.95 lunch which includes a choice of that special chicken satay and a dish we enjoyed, chicken lettuce wraps, or main course of crispy (meaning crisply fried) beef, or crispy salmon and three variations on chicken, as well as a dessert and coffee or tea.


Main Dining Room * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


The setting is far from informal, though, plush banquettes and intimate booths, an exotic flare of black, red and white in the dining room and bar, as well as a private cellar and two private dining rooms, spread over three floors to accommodate parties and groups. Flickering candles and overhead skylights set the tone for a fine dining experience.


Peking Duck * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


Fans of Chinese food know it is best to come with a few friends so that you can get a better taste of all the specialties. I regretted not having a half dozen table-mates when I saw a server expertly slicing duck for a table of eight. Phillippe Chow offers a seven pound portion of Peking duck with pancakes for $75, and four pounds of Peking Chicken for $55.


Not being aware of the generous portions to come, we ordered appetizers—chicken wrap and and a dumpling sampler. Six dumplings, two each of chicken, pork and bamboo fillings, came in delicate skins, with exotic flavors I could not identify, much as I enjoyed them. One duo seemed to be jade jelled and another might have had a bath in leaf tea. The wrap was a pile of iceberg lettuce leaves, cut so that we could load them with diced chicken and corn and assorted veggies to make a barely handleable hand wrap. I realized after working through all that diced chicken—enough for four diners-- and veggies that I was in for large portions, and started thinking about what I might take home. But it never happened. We finished everything set before us.


Fresh Maine Lobster * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


I opted for a main course of steamed lobster and that might have been a mistake on my part. The lobster meat accompanied by ginger and scallions, well flavored at it was, unfortunately stuck to the shells, and it was difficult to extricate reasonable portions with fork, knife or chopsticks. Oh well, my partner’s halibut was king size and we shared that with no worry about being short changed on portions.


Green Prawns * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


Oh, there were so many items I wanted to sample—prawns in sweet and sour sauce, the same dressing that made the halibut a standout, three within, a combo of shrimp, chicken and scallops in white sauce, and an American black bass with sides of black bean and garlic sauce.


Mr. Cheng's Noodles * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


I will have to go back to satisfy my new addiction for Phillippe Chow-style sauces which are unlike the usual blanket of strange combinations you find in the usual Chinese restaurant.


The Main Dining Room Bar * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


Dining Room * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


But nothing about Phillippe Chow is usual. It is an acquired taste and one that needs refreshing. Like those regulars I encountered in my first visit, I simply must return.


Next time I might consider sampling the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Fresh Raspberries * Photo Courtesy of Phillipe Chow


Phillippe Chow, 33 East 60th Street, New York, NY. 212 664 8885.

Lunch: Monday-Saturday 12:00 pm to 4.00 pm.

Dinner Monday through Saturday 6:00 pm-12:00 a.m. Sunday 3:00 pm to 12:00 a.m.

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